DECISION 2014: Slate of city council candidates is starting to fill up

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CORNWALL, Ontario – The list of candidates for municipal office in Cornwall continues to grow, with the addition this week of incumbent Coun. David Murphy.

Murphy, who is wrapping up his first full term as a city councillor, has joined a slate of candidates that also includes another rookie and others who have not yet been elected to municipal office.

“I’ve taken (residents') concerns to the council table and assisted them in addressing various issues to ensure they continue to enjoy living and working in Cornwall and hope to be given that honour for a second term," Murphy said in news release announcing his candidacy this week.

Murphy has staked out a political reputation based on fiscal responsibility and has consistently questioned spending decisions at city hall since being elected in 2010.

The balance of the candidates for council include:

Todd Bennett

Bennett has become a fixture at city hall after running in the last municipal election and finishing in 15th position with 2,890 votes. The top 10 finishers in the run for council are elected, with the 10th place finisher in 2010 collecting 4,201 votes.

In the time since the 2010 race Bennett has joined local municipal committees and has begun volunteering even more which should help get word out that he is serious about winning this year.

He recently organized a small protest against the waterfront chemical tanks in the city.

His campaign will largely be based on increased economic prosperity and a promise to lower taxes.

Brock Frost

Frost, a local real estate sales person and investor, made a splash when he announced his candidacy by promising to donate his salary to the local Children's Aid Society and Cornwall Hospice.

He has volunteered his time in the community as well, including handing out Valentine's Day gifts at area nursing homes and helping to sponsor the 2014 Winterfest carnival in Cornwall.

He promises economic growth, lower taxes, government transparency and protection of citizen's interests in arts, culture and health, if elected.

He also wants to see a public referendum held to decide once and for all if Cornwall's municipal water supply should be fluoridated.

His website can be found here.

Carilyne Hébert

A newcomer to the political scene at city hall, Hébert got the ball rolling quickly by being the first to file her nomination papers for the October election.

She is big on volunteering and community involvement, as evidenced by her time as a Big Sister and philanthropy at local soup kitchens, among other achievements.

“Serving in a soup kitchen and being on non-profit boards are all wonderful things and I encourage everyone to give back to our community," she said. "However, I know one sure way to make a real difference in people’s lives is becoming part of our municipal government."

Gerry Samson

Samson is wrapping up his first run as a city councillor. Samson is a retired Cornwall police officer, and had also been a Catholic school board trustee for many years and his late father was a councillor from the 1970s until the mid-1980s.

He brought with him a desire to be accountable to each voters, but in particular has focused his efforts on seniors and people of low-income.

Guy St-Jean

St-Jean is a business owner in Cornwall and has promised to bring fresh ideas to city hall.

He has recently begun to speak openly against the chemical tanks under construction on Cornwall's waterfront and has been open in his concerns about increased traffic in the Le Village district that will need to be addressed in the short term.

"We need to clean up and revitalize Le Village," he said. "This historical neighborhood needs some serious attention as it has several empty storefronts and decaying buildings."

He is also focusing on issues concerning Cornwall's economy and our perception among other cities in Canada.

Gary W. Samler

Samler finished well back in the 2010 race, capturing 1,240 votes to nose out Pat Finnerty for the last-placed spot. Finnerty received 1,172.

Samler has been critical of the existing city council and has advocated a fresh perspective when it comes to issues of taxation, the local economy and accountability to the electorate.

He is also a staunch supporter of the poor.

"I am committed to eliminating poverty everywhere in Ontario and working hard to put poverty elimination higher in Cornwall's next council agenda," he says on his website, which can be found here. " My priorities will be on good jobs, employment and opportunities to retain our youth, supporting a livable income by changing the minimum wage to a more realistic living wage and finding more and safer affordable housing as needed."

On the mayoral side the election ledger only local website owner Jamie Gilcig has filed his nomination papers.

Candidates have until Sept. 12 to file their nomination papers at city hall. The 2014 election takes place Oct. 27.

Organizations: Aid Society, Big Sister, Catholic school board

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario, Water Street Canada

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